SUNBURY — This weekend the Susquehanna Valley Chorale (SVC) will perform its spring concert, “Chants Retold,” at the Zion Lutheran Church, Fifth and Market streets, Sunbury. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. today, March 1, and 3 p.m. Sunday.
The performance will feature Maurice Durufle’s Requiem, Op. 9, a unique and powerful work inspired by anonymous medieval monks who composed exquisite Gregorian chants. The Chorale will open by surrounding the great nave of Zion Lutheran Church while performing Durufle’s Ubi Caritas (“where charity and love prevails”), which translates the ethereal beauty of the original chant into a melody that speaks easily to 21st century ears. This work is often lauded as one the most perfect expressions of chant retold in contemporary language.
“Durufle’s Requiem has been recognized as a masterpiece for more than a half century is a unique and powerful work,” said Dr. Bill Payn, SVC conductor, “All melodies in the Requiem are based exclusively on themes from the Gregorian funeral mass, and the results are absolutely spellbinding.”
Meet the performers
Three world-class performers — Elizabeth Duhr-Ramirez (mezzo soprano), Timothy Lefevre (baritone) and Ryan Malone (organist) — will join the Chorale and SVC orchestra for this special event.
Iowa native Duhr-Ramirez, a talented and versatile vocalist, is a graduate of the Resident Artist Training Program with the Tri-Cities Opera, where she undertook a variety of prominent roles. She regularly performs music of the cabaret and musical theater repertoire. Most recently, she has been featured as soloist in Mahler’s Symphony Number Two, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, and Shostakovich’s Seven Romances on Verses by Alexander Blok.
Nationally acclaimed baritone LeFebvre has wide-ranging experience from the operatic stage to the concert hall and is currently associate professor of singing at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he teaches private voice, oratorio repertoire for singers, and coordinates Freshman Voice Seminar. Prior to Oberlin, he was assistant professor of voice at Binghamton University, and also taught at Cornell University, Syracuse University, Hamilton College, and Colgate University. He frequently performs with acclaimed groups such as the Cleveland Pops, Central City Opera, the Tri-Cities Opera, the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera and many more.